Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post Reply
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6364
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:04 pm

I've been reflecting on this doctrine identifying Nichiren with the Honbutsu lately and am hoping to explore this idea in a sympathetic way. This subject is ordinarily inflected with harsh reactionary emotions all around. I'd like to try and discuss this without all that drama. Personally, this is an idea I was taught but have since rejected. That said, reflecting on this, I realize I don't know if I really understood this teaching and how it impacts practice.

Since the user Gohonzon has recently made an appearance and is knowledgeable on Shoshu teachings, I am hoping he could explain the teaching and answer questions that might arise.

I will be moderating this thread strictly. Any of the usual sectarian flame war shenanigans will not be tolerated. If things get emotional and out of hand, this thread will be locked.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

westcountry
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 5:44 pm

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by westcountry » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:23 pm

so what's your question about this specifically? I do love a bit of study :D

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6364
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:34 pm

To quote myself...
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:04 pm
explain the teaching
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

joy&peace
Posts: 1005
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: Is Nichiren Shu the most traditional of all the Nichiren sects?

Post by joy&peace » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:09 am

is Nichiren the True Buddha of our age?
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

User avatar
Virgo
Global Moderator
Posts: 3478
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am
Location: Uni-verse

Re: Is Nichiren Shu the most traditional of all the Nichiren sects?

Post by Virgo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:12 am

joy&peace wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:09 am
is Nichiren the True Buddha of our age?
Well, that would depend on who you ask. If you ask Nichiren Shoshu or SGI they would say yes.

Kevin...

User avatar
Bois de Santal
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:01 am
Location: La Manche

Re: Is Nichiren Shu the most traditional of all the Nichiren sects?

Post by Bois de Santal » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:45 am

Virgo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:12 am
joy&peace wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:09 am
is Nichiren the True Buddha of our age?
Well, that would depend on who you ask. If you ask Nichiren Shoshu or SGI they would say yes.
Actually I'm not sure they would say yes.

Ultimately their argument is that if Shakyamuni attained enlightenment in the distant past then he must have had a teacher, and that teacher must be the original (eternal) buddha. Who then reappeared as Nichiren in the latter age.

In any case, the True Buddha must, de facto, be eternal and thus transcends all ages.

narhwal90
Posts: 658
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:10 am

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:04 pm

SGI would probably say "thats what we say, but thats not the point of the practice" and then try to move the discussion into human revolution sorts of dialog eg transform yourself and thereby transform the world. If pressed, then likely the "True Buddha" proposition would be laboriously interpreted as Nichiren founding an effective practice for everyone in this latter day, and sadly, Shakyamuni would appear infrequently as a distant elder statesman sort of influence. The reincarnation line might show up too but likely idiosyncratically via folks who adopt that view & share it.

User avatar
Virgo
Global Moderator
Posts: 3478
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am
Location: Uni-verse

Re: Is Nichiren Shu the most traditional of all the Nichiren sects?

Post by Virgo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:10 pm

Bois de Santal wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:45 am
Virgo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:12 am
joy&peace wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:09 am
is Nichiren the True Buddha of our age?
Well, that would depend on who you ask. If you ask Nichiren Shoshu or SGI they would say yes.
Actually I'm not sure they would say yes.

Ultimately their argument is that if Shakyamuni attained enlightenment in the distant past then he must have had a teacher, and that teacher must be the original (eternal) buddha. Who then reappeared as Nichiren in the latter age.

In any case, the True Buddha must, de facto, be eternal and thus transcends all ages.
True Buddha in this sense is equivalent to Eternal Buddha.

Kevin...

User avatar
justsomeguy
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by justsomeguy » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:30 pm

I will admit that entering Nichiren Shoshu, the doctrine of Nichiren as the True Buddha was a bit jarring. I think part of the reason for that was that I had an Americanized sense of what Buddhism is and how it's practiced. My prior understanding of the religion was all over the place, mixing Therevada concepts with Mahayana, with a sprinkling of Vajrayana elements here and there. So Nichiren Shoshu definitely came as a shock, but it has been very instructional. Posing this same question to our temple priest, I was given the explanation that yes, Nichiren is regarded as the "True Buddha" of this age (mappo). At first, I had taken the "Nichiren as True Buddha" claim to be disparaging against Shakyamuni, but that was my fault for thinking that they were implying that Shakyamuni was somehow "False" (binary thinking). But then it was explained to me that Nichiren, as the Buddha of True Cause, preceded Shakyamuni, the Buddha of True Effect. More was said of course, but that's the gist, and it helped me put the role of Shakyamuni in Nichiren Shoshu into perspective. He's still an integral and necessary element of Shoshu's teachings.

Honestly though, and not to minimize Nichiren's role in NShoshu by any means, it's not something that is harped on much from what I can tell. I'm still learning though. :)

User avatar
justsomeguy
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: Is Nichiren Shu the most traditional of all the Nichiren sects?

Post by justsomeguy » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:37 pm

Virgo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:10 pm
Bois de Santal wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:45 am
Virgo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:12 am

Well, that would depend on who you ask. If you ask Nichiren Shoshu or SGI they would say yes.
Actually I'm not sure they would say yes.

Ultimately their argument is that if Shakyamuni attained enlightenment in the distant past then he must have had a teacher, and that teacher must be the original (eternal) buddha. Who then reappeared as Nichiren in the latter age.

In any case, the True Buddha must, de facto, be eternal and thus transcends all ages.
True Buddha in this sense is equivalent to Eternal Buddha.

Kevin...
Yes, thanks for pointing that out Kevin! Sometimes the language of Buddhism can be confusing, and people like me tend to read that as "True vs. False". I've noticed that Buddhism translated into English leads to a lot of confusion in terms of language.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6364
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:09 pm

The Buddha is attributed with the functions of Parent, Teacher and Sovereign. These ideas can be found throughout the Buddhist texts, as well as the Lotus Sutra. In Chapter 3 which relates the parable of the burning house, the Buddha explains:

Now this triple world is my property
And the sentient beings in it are my children.
There are now many dangers here
And I am the only one who can protect them.


Nichiren remarks on this passage:

This passage means that to us living beings the Thus Come One Shakyamuni is our parent, our teacher, and our sovereign.
-Encouragement to a Sick Person

The Nichiren as True Buddha doctrine is read into this statement from Kaimokusho:

"I, Nichiren, am sovereign, teacher, and father and mother to all the people of Japan."

He also says in Kaimoku sho:

"I will be the pillar of Japan. I will be the eyes of Japan. I will be the great ship of Japan. This is my vow, and I will never forsake it!"

Remarking on this, Nichiren wrote in Actions of the Votary of the Lotus Sutra:

"After everyone had gone, I began to put into shape a work in two volumes called Kaimokusho, which I had been working on since the eleventh month of the previous year. I wanted to record the wonder of Nichiren, in case I should be beheaded. The essential message in this work is that the destiny of Japan depends solely upon Nichiren. A house without pillars collapses, and a person without a soul is dead. Nichiren is the soul of the people of this country. Hei no Saemon has already toppled the pillar of Japan, and the country grows turbulent as unfounded rumors and speculation rise up like phantoms to cause dissention in the ruling clan."

In the Nichiren as Honbutsu doctrine, these and other passages are read as Nichiren's declaration that he is the Buddha of Mappo, the Original Buddha.

This is not how most Nichiren Buddhists read these passages. I won't critique these ideas in this thread as this is the Shoshu forum.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

User avatar
Bois de Santal
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:01 am
Location: La Manche

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Bois de Santal » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:17 pm

Virgo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:10 pm
Bois de Santal wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:45 am
Virgo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:12 am

Well, that would depend on who you ask. If you ask Nichiren Shoshu or SGI they would say yes.
Actually I'm not sure they would say yes.

Ultimately their argument is that if Shakyamuni attained enlightenment in the distant past then he must have had a teacher, and that teacher must be the original (eternal) buddha. Who then reappeared as Nichiren in the latter age.

In any case, the True Buddha must, de facto, be eternal and thus transcends all ages.
True Buddha in this sense is equivalent to Eternal Buddha.

Kevin...
Sorry, evidently I failed to get my point across - I was trying to say that 'true buddha for our age' is an oxymoron. If we talk about our age, surely we limit the scope of the eternal/original buddha?

I dunno. Maybe I'm just nitpicking.

User avatar
Virgo
Global Moderator
Posts: 3478
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am
Location: Uni-verse

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Virgo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:25 pm

justsomeguy wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:37 pm
I've noticed that Buddhism translated into English leads to a lot of confusion in terms of language.
Yes, I have come across the same problem.

kevin...

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 6364
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Nichiren as Honbutsu

Post by Queequeg » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:44 pm

There's a reason most of us don't buy it. Actually many reasons.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

Post Reply

Return to “Nichiren Shoshu”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests